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Friday, January 07, 2005

Sappho

I have no complaint

I have no complaint

prosperity that
the golden Muses
gave me was no
delusion: dead, I
won't be forgotten

Sappho

I was looking over some poems by Sappho and came across this one. I read it over a couple times and though its short and straightforward as far as language, structure etc I'm having difficulty fully understanding it. I was thinking that this poem could possibly have been written at a time when Sappho had asserted her skill in the arts. What the Muses had given her was no delusion, the ability to write influential poetry in a significant time and place. Sappho was able to write in a very unique period in ancient Greece.
The mentioning of death in the poem also interests me eventhough I'm still not sure what is the deeper meaning behing it. Most people I assume, would think that in death they would be forgotten. Sappho on the other hand states that in her death she will be remembered. Is it possible that Sappho had realized that she would be that kind of artist, the kind that is so unique and moving that in life controversy is stirred and in death art is created? The poem sounds confident and strong. Having no complaints seems peaceful and quiet. In fact a lot of poetry is usually about complaints.
This poem is so simple and I don't know what its about. Could it be so simple that it just means literally what it says, or is there something I'm missing? Usually when analyzing I look for literary tools that authors often use to construct a poem such as the rhyme scheme, images etc. This poem doesn't have any of that. At the same time I feel like the poem is tryinig to say a lot in the simple lines. It touches on important subjects like death, rememberance in death, the Muses or faith, and complaints or the nature of humans.

5 Comments:

Blogger la said...

Hmm, I think that maybe she was saying that the Muses gave her the ability to write poetry, allowed her to be creative, all that good stuff you mentioned in the blog.

Maybe, "dead, I won't be forgotten," means that she knew she was a great writer. Some people write love poems about their lovers so that even after death, they will live, through the piece of writing. Maybe this is what she was trying to do. Through all her writings, she felt that even after her death, she would be remembered for years to come -- and that would give her life?

January 8, 2005 at 9:01 AM  
Blogger Lora B said...

Hey Chris
This poem is short, and straight forward as you mentioned. Although, I think a lot of phrases and important ideas are left out, or were never translated properly, resulting in a fragmented poem. This poem does not give you a clear and concise idea as to what Sapho is trying to say. In my opinion I think she is satisfied with the life she has led. Through her imspiration of the muses, she was able to create poetry that properly reflects her. And through her works she prospered, and it was "no delusion" for she became the well known author of the past. She is content with what she has obtained because she knows she will live on through her writing. The professor stated in lecture, that written work was something that was special, since it enabled peoples thoughts to live through the years. Saphos work will never be forgotton, and even in her death people will know her work and the person behind her poems.

January 8, 2005 at 12:34 PM  
Blogger JScays said...

Hi Chris!

As I was reading your blog, I couldn't help but wonder whether or not this poem belonging to Sappho is complete or not. On the sites that I visited, her poems seemed to be much longer and story-like, yet this one seemed so vague. If this is merely an excerpt from a much longer poem, I truly wonder what the rest would have looked like. Was she really writing about her abilities as an authoress, or was the intention that there be a sarcastic tone to the poem which would have been evident when reading it in its entirety? I could go on and on, but I really just wanted to broach the possibility of this not being a complete poem and thus not giving us the ability to fully judge what meaning lays behind its words. If we only knew!!!

January 9, 2005 at 9:27 PM  
Blogger JScays said...

Hi Chris!

As I was reading your blog, I couldn't help but wonder whether or not this poem belonging to Sappho is complete or not. On the sites that I visited, her poems seemed to be much longer and story-like, yet this one seemed so vague. If this is merely an excerpt from a much longer poem, I truly wonder what the rest would have looked like. Was she really writing about her abilities as an authoress, or was the intention that there be a sarcastic tone to the poem which would have been evident when reading it in its entirety? I could go on and on, but I really just wanted to broach the possibility of this not being a complete poem and thus not giving us the ability to fully judge what meaning lays behind its words. If we only knew!!!

January 9, 2005 at 9:27 PM  
Blogger Emma said...

In responce to JScays, I must reply with the thought that it is not a compolete poem.

If you recall from the lecture on sappho, there are only two full poem that are quoted as hers. The rest are mere fragments of her ideas.

January 15, 2005 at 11:14 AM  

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